Students Paddle to Learning with New Natural Resources Canoes

Ms. Alia Russo

Imagine leaving school for one period, travelling to Lake Iroquois and going on a peaceful adventure with canoes in the outdoors. That’s what CVU science teacher Dave Trevithick invisions in the near future for his students here at Champlain Union High School in Hinesburg, Vermont. “Students need more connections with the outdoors,” says Dave, “We have water access but don’t use it.”

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According to Trevithick, the most useful way to use this water access would be through canoes. Having canoes will establish a great learning experience for students. They can spend their time outdoors instead of sitting in class for an hour and a half, allowing them to learn more about the environment. “Kids aren’t getting outside enough,” says Trevithick. According to a study done by the Outdoors Foundation, “almost half — 49.0% — of the US population ages 6 and over participated in an outdoor activity at least once in 2017. This continues three years of slight growth in outdoor participation.” The report also says that, “adults who were introduced to the outdoors as children were more likely to participate in outdoor activities during adulthood than those who were not exposed to the outdoors as children.” The report asserts that kids aren’t spending enough time outdoors, and the numbers only grow slightly.

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Going “Zero Waste”: a Breakdown of the Latest Trend in Environmentalism

Ms. Sarah Clauss, CVC Environmental Correspondent

One of the largest environmental issues facing our nation is solid waste management. According to the Los Angeles Times, the United States generated about 624,700 metric tons of trash per day in 2011. Few people think about where their trash goes after it leaves the curb — but landfills are hardly the convenient solution you might assume. Landfills produce methane gas and can leech toxins into nearby water supplies. Animal habitats disappear as these waste disposal areas expand, wreaking havoc on biodiversity. The soil around landfill sites often becomes depleted of nutrients and cannot sustain agriculture.

So what is the solution? Many environmentalists have turned to living “zero waste”; they forgo single-use plastic and rely only on goods that they can reuse, recycle, or compost. Interested in getting started? Here are some tips from the experts on producing less trash.

  1. From Celia Ristow of Litterless: “Start slowly – it’s not going to happen overnight, and that’s okay! Small changes that you can stick to add up to large changes over time. I suggest making one change a week or one every other week, to give the new habit time to stick before you add another one.”
  2. From Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers: “I always recommend evaluating where you make the most waste and tackling those areas with preparation! For example, if you use plastic bags when you shop, make sure to bring your own reusable bags in the future. Now take this same preparation to all of the areas where you are making waste.”
  3. From Anne-Marie Bonneau of The Zero Waste Chef: “Well, for the general population, I would say my number one rule is to cut processed food and learn to cook (sort of two tips…). Most of the plastic and other trash in our waste stream comes from food packaging, and much of that comes from processed food, which isn’t healthy for us or the planet. So cut the shiny packages—chips, soda, cookies, frozen pizzas, fast food and so on—and you not only eliminate a ton of trash, you improve your diet and health.”

What are some of the challenges of adopting a lifestyle with less waste?

According to Anne Marie, “I think the biggest challenge is just getting started. If you start to analyze your trash, you might be shocked—especially by the plastic coming out of your kitchen, and also the food waste. You may not know where to start. I would suggest you start small and not try to go cold turkey all at once. Perhaps taking a reusable mug or thermos to your local café, shopping at the farmers’ market for loose produce or packing a zero-waste lunch for school. If you try to quit all at once, you may feel overwhelmed and fail. And even if you do start small, you’ll still mess up at some point. It’s inevitable. Don’t beat yourself up. Just do your best. If everyone did that, we’d be in much better shape.”

 

Want to Save the Planet? Then Eat Bugs

Mr. Damon Proulx

Should we eat insects? The gross crawling creepies that scare us and look nasty? I believe that this will be in our meals in the distant future. The protein and efficiency you get out of insects is crazy, and world hunger is a major problem we must combat as a species. The answer to our famine, is under our feet.

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Image from Newtopia Magazine

There’s a gigantic world hunger problem right now, with parts of Africa and Asia having the most countries in complete hunger chaos. If we were to increase hoofed animal production, or chicken and turkey production, it will fail. Scientists have already predicted that if we reached a population from 1.7 billion to 3 billion by 2025 or later, that the world would reach a max capacity for beef pork or chicken production. The world can’t withstand and handle that much C02 release and there isn’t enough room to hold that many production farms.

We need a better method for feeding the rapid growth of our population. Animals you see and hear of everyday in our food isn’t gonna work forever.  According to Sara Boboltz in an article on the website Huffpost “Here’s the number one reason to eat bugs: they’re good for you! They’ve got protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and essential minerals. Nutrients differ, of course, by species, age and preparation method, but grasshoppers in particular are packed with about just as much protein as lean ground beef with less fat, and mealworms are typically a fair substitute for fish. Some caterpillars have more protein by weight than a turkey leg — and more fat, too, but it’s a healthier, monosaturated kind.” Insects are an amazing solution to the problems we face. They provide more protein than the animals we eat now, so people that are starving can gain the nutrients they need to keep going.

This also leads to helping obesity in the United States. You can eat less of bugs and still gain the same amount of nutrients as a couple hamburgers. This benefits for the reason that people will eat less to be more satisfied with the insect diet. This means healthier people and in the long run a much better healthier world.

By switching to insects we can provide more food to help stop hunger and to lower people’s weight over the course of time. It makes the United States hoard food less and distribute food more to the other countries in need. So we as a human race can survive and world hunger could be finally stopped.

Let’s talk about the efficiency of insects and costs. Look at the picture below.

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Infographic from The Bug Shack (UK)

The picture shown is so clear to the truth and what our world will come to if we continue. Cattle is the most farmed animal in the United States, and these are the comparisons. You get double the percentage of edible product from insects, a overwhelming decreased amount of water usage and barely any feed. The C02 and emissions (feces) is significantly reduced when insects are being farmed instead. Now we aren’t getting rid of milk we need the product, so we can’t completely get rid of cows and that’s not what is suggested. Milk and beef will still be around regardless, but just produced less. I wouldn’t consider it becoming a delicacy and only available to the rich, but it definitely will be reduced in production. We don’t have to get rid of cows completely but we need to replace a good 50% of these cow farms with insects at least.

This also ties in with the greenhouse gases, which we are producing way too much of. “In addition, insects actually like being confined to tiny spaces. Unlike chickens and cows and other animals who would prefer, we assume, being kept on “free-range” farms, bugs don’t mind being cooped up together in one massive cage. If farmed on the same scale, the U.N. report states insects would require “significantly less” water and land resources than traditional livestock.” (Huffpost, by Sara Boboltz) and the land we are using can be deducted and used for other things. Less land used for farming that causes a lot of C02, by replacing those with insect farms it frees up land for other uses. Cropland could also be reduced on a smaller scale provided that a certain species of insect can be a good supplement for a vegetable, but the vegetables and fruits can be left alone more. Also with the increased land we can have more beekeepers, increasing pollination. Pollination equals better quality fruits and vegetables, and honey products. So in reality insects have so many uses for our economy in saving money and efficiency. The United States would save millions of dollars by switching over to the insect way.

Insects are a great way to solve so many problems, and mother nature is a powerful force. We had the solution all along but we are being too stubborn and won’t give up what we are used to. Eventually we will feel the wrath that nature is gonna bestow upon us. Once we use up too much land and are farming too much inefficient animals, our species will ruin the Earth and we’ll die. Nature doesn’t like inefficiency and that’s what we are: inefficient. Nature will remove us and continue life without us because we won’t fit in with the efficiency problem and how we manage Earth. So my people, we must switch to insects and help out our species and the world as a whole. Switching to creepy crawling bugs will save us all, so should we? I think we will.

 

 

CVU Students and Faculty head to North Carolina for a great cause

Mr. Kyler Murray &  Mr. Colin Lach 

Over Spring Break CVU students and Faculty traveled to North Carolina to take part in the Habitat for Humanity program. This was the 15th year CVUHS has taken part in this trip.

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live, and they work to make that a reality.

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AP Human Geography: Lacey Emphasizes Empathy

 

Mr. Thomas Daley

According to the World Health Organization, 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water water source contaminated with faeces. The United Nations Water for Life campaign reports that, on average, women in Africa and Asia walk 3.7 miles to collect water, sometimes in amounts less than three gallons. The United States Geological Survey states that the average American uses 80-100 gallons of water a day. In the U.S. humans have a very lavish relationship with water, something that is easy to unintentionally take for granted. One CVU teacher’s AP Human Geography class, however, has decided to put an end to the ignorance.

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During the week of March 13, 2017, Lacey Richards tasked her students with a challenge. The first option was to carry five gallons of water everywhere for a week—something both physically and emotionally stressful. The second was to, over the course of the week, boil all water for 10 minutes before using it; this was designed for students who were physically unable to carry out the first option, or for those who simply could not fit transporting five gallons of water into their schedule. “It definitely made me appreciate the fact that we can turn on the faucet and have running water around here,” explained Ben Stevens, a CVU junior, “Carrying 40 plus pounds of water everywhere I went was not that fun. I think that experience is what made me realize how tough walking to get water is and how fortunate we are to have access to running water.”

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Swimming with the Friendliest Animals in the World

The Galapagos Islands

Ms. Jam Giubardo

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CVU Galapagos trip, students got to observe hundreds of new animals, including this friendly little Galapagos Barn Owl. Photo taken by CVU student, William Braun.

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, Ecuador — Imagine you are snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Your tight mask sticks to your face as you clench onto the salty rubber tube and breath in. You dunk your head down into the glass clear water and immediately see a whole new world of unique creatures. Millions of colors flashing from a thousand different fish. The coral reefs are swaying with intense serenity and the starfish are bathing in the sun. You turn your head and see a giant sea turtle gliding through the blue sea and a white tipped reef shark swims past your leg. You aren’t afraid because they aren’t afraid. The animals don’t even seem to notice you.

The Galapagos Islands are very special. Most people know them for the discovery of the theory of evolution, developed by Charles Darwin. And yes, research done there has fueled thousands of scientific research projects and discoveries, but from a non-scientist perspective, the islands allow for the most unique experiences and drive curiosity.

In February, 2017, Champlain Valley Union High School took a group of 18 students and 2 teachers to the Galapagos Islands. While they were there they got the opportunity to observe thousands of species unique to the climate and to the islands. During a survey at the end of their trip, the students were asked to state something that amazed them the most about the islands. William Braun, a CVU Junior, responded saying, “Being in a place like the Galapagos, where the wildlife and land is almost completely untouched really redefined what it meant to be one with nature. It was amazing to get so close to the animals and still watch them behave naturally as if you weren’t even there.” This not only illustrates the beauty and experiences people have there, but also shows how 17-year-olds, with little to no knowledge about animals and ecology, notice the magic there too.

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Cities Go Green

Mr. Kevin Motia

In an effort to fend off the negative effects of fossil fuels such as ecological disruption and health problems like respiratory ailments and cancer, many U.S. cities have been transitioning towards the use of clean energy for their electrical needs.

Two years ago, Burlington became the first city in the U.S. to become completely reliant on renewable energy for its residents’ electrical needs. The city has become an example for other communities to follow.

the McNeil Plant, courtesy of Burlington Electric

the McNeil Plant, courtesy of Burlington Electric

Burlington became the first city to run on 100% renewable energy by investing in a hydropower plant in 2014. More recently, influenced by Burlington’s achievement, other American cities have begun to look at their own natural resources for energy uses.  According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, there are now 29 cities located in the United States which are run 100% on renewable energy.These cities include Aspen, Colorado; Kodiak Island, Alaska; and Greensburg, Kansas.

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Vermont Passes Gas

Mr. Dillon Hamrell

Gas, when leaked from a methane pipeline, can cover a city before it’s noticed. It can coat a house without the owner realising it has company. It visits everywhere without being let in. As long as the gas is there it can harm the people in the house. It can affect daily life. When the gas is spotted a whole town can clear that day. It can move thousands of people in hours.

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Vermont Gas Systems’ pipeline is proposed to be beyond the electric line. Trails and a sledding hill for Geprags Park are on the right. Photo courtesy of Burlington Free Press

In California 65,000 lbs of methane gas an hour is leaking from a pipe. This caused a several thousand person evacuation of thousands of homes. There is also a no fly zone above this because of the possibility that the methane could ignite. The leak could affect even more people because the gas is still leaking today. The gas being leaked has been going for months. It is a massive leak; one of the biggest in history.

California has a methane pipeline that carries natural gases around the state. These pipelines carry methane that can make a massive impact on the environment.The gas is invisible to the naked eye.

At the leak’s peak, it was spewing at about 72 million standard cubic feet of methane a day, which emitted the same amount of global warming pollution as driving 9 million cars a day, according to Tim O’Connor, who runs EDF’s oil and gas program in California.

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CVU Class Aims To Tackle School Energy Consumption

Mr. Eli Hark

HINESBURG– The “Money, Energy, and Power” class at CVU, a class on Environmental Economics and the science and policy behind green energy, has finalized a project aimed at raising awareness and lowering energy consumption in the school.

In 2011 Glenn Fay and Chrissy Burg came together to create a class that merged Science and History. The class, named “Money, Energy, and Power”, aimed at empowering Juniors and Seniors with knowledge about economics, energy, and our climate.  Since their first class 4 four years ago, the class has evolved into something targeted at engaging creative and interested students to perform group projects to understand a multiplicity of complications related to the world we live in.

The class, now taught by Jeff Hindes and Glenn Fay, ends with an “activism” project, aimed at giving the students the ability to find a problem they believe in, and execute a wide variety of tasks to make a change.

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EnACT Seeks to Save the Planet, One Student at a Time

Ms. Madison Hakey, Charlotte News Correspondant

Here in Vermont, students care a lot about the environment and how their actions correspond with climate change. Just ask the students in the EnACT club at CVU. These students have created projects that have spread statewide. “We were one of the pilot schools in this energy challenge and now schools across the state are using the same words, same language,” Katie Antos-Ketcham, the EnACT advisor states. EnACT stands for Environmental Action Club. It is a club where students encourage, educate, and act on making CVU an environmentally friendly place. Antos-Ketcham emphasizes the word action because, “while it is important to learn about the environment, it is also really important to do something,” and EnACT certainly has. CVU has come a long way through past and present EnACT initiatives.

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Opinion: One Vegetarian Makes the Environmental Case Against Meat

Ms. Natalie Casson

The well being of our environment has been rapidly decreasing in the past decade, and likely global climates will be unable to handle more change.  We all know turning lights off and driving cars less helps our planet, yet almost every person is harming the environment dramatically on a daily basis: during our meals.  It was recorded in an article by the National Public Radio that in 2012, in America, we consumed over 52.2 billion pounds of meat.  That number feels almost too big to grasp, so let’s put it into perspective.  Let’s compare it to wheatone of the most fundamental crops in our world today.  Your average American citizen will consume around 132.5 pounds of wheat annually.  With 318.9 billion US citizens, we are consuming over 42.2 billion pounds of wheat a year.  10 billion pounds short of our meat consumption.

When I found this out, I was astonished.  Animals take up space, produce waste, and require huge amounts of food, chemicals, and water.  In 1909, it was recorded in the same article that around 9.8 billion pounds of meat were consumed: 42.4 billion pounds less than today.  Despite the population being lower, the proportions still don’t add up.  The meat consumption within the US has been growing exponentially and is continuing to do so.

Meat, pound per pound, has a much larger impact on our environment than any other food we consume.  The most unfortunate part of it all is many people, including myself before I began research, are not aware that what they eat affects the environment.  Often times people don’t jump to food when they think about the contributors to climate change and pollution; however, it has an incredibly large impact in many different ways.  In being conscious when choosing what we eat, we can reduce our carbon footprints and our effect on the environment.

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Opinion: The Case Against Orcas in Captivity

Ms. Sophie Boyer

Imagine being an animal in the jungle, woods, or ocean . . . and all of a sudden you are split away from your family, and the place you grew up to spend the rest of your life as a slave. Orcas are a significant example of this situation. Holding Orcas and other animals in captivity needs to come to an end. This world is so focused on making money that we are not realizing what a huge negative impact we are making on these innocent animals’ lives.

Wild orcas have an average life expectancy of is 60 to 70 years for males and 80 to over 100 for females. The average age of death for orcas who have died at SeaWorld is 13 years old. That’s a difference of fifty plus years taken away from a life, and what did that short life consist of?  

At least 151 orcas have been separated from their families to work for places such as SeaWorld, and now 127 of those orcas are dead. Orcas who are not compatible are forced to live together in tight areas of a tank.  This is where fighting, biting, and killing can possibly happen due to anxiety and tension between them.  In the wild however, orcas have very strong social bonds, and if a situation does occur where violence takes place they can easily flee in the ocean. In a tank there is no where to go.  What are some physical examples of orcas in distress you may ask?  Orcas in distress have been known to act out.  

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Silverware Now Being Used in the CVU Cafeteria

Mr. Max Brown

HINESBURG ― CVU’s Environmental Action Club introduced metal silverware into the cafeteria on January 20th, a substitute for the old plastic silverware, aiming to reduce plastic waste.

The initiative began by replacing every plastic utensil with a silverware one instead. With the goal of reducing the amount of waste produced by CVU students, the switch cuts thousands of wasted utensils each week.

“We went through about 2,000 pieces of plastic silverware a week,” says EnAct’s Senior member Rachel Slimovitch. “Which is a lot considering they were all going in the trash.”

Some students expressed worry about the cleanliness of the silverware. EnAct responded with meetings for each class describing how the silverware is cleaned- very thoroughly.

The rollout of new silverware is one of many programs initiated by the CVU Environmental Action Club. Past milestones have included reducing CVU’s electrical energy usage by 10.8%, saving over $17,000.